After the much maligned Frank McCourt sold the team to a group headed by Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson, it's once again a good time to be a Dodgers fan. In the short-term, the news is likely to spark attendance at Dodger Stadium. In the long-term, patrons are hopeful that they will see the club spend the money necessary to win. Despite being in the nation's No. 2 media market, the Dodgers have just the 12th highest payroll in baseball this season after spending about $50K more than the Twins and about $50MM less than the Phillies.
While they didn't make a Prince Fielder-sized splash this winter, they did manage to lock up Matt Kemp to an eight-year, $160MM deal that will keep him in L.A. through his age-34 season. They also signed Clayton Kershaw to a two-year, $19MM deal, but they'll really have to break out their checkbooks to sign the left-hander into his free agent years. They'll also have to dole out major money to keep Andre Ethier next winter if the outfielder stays healthy and plays up to his ability in 2012.
The Dodgers might not be ready to play with the big boys just yet, but they do have pieces in place and it appears that they'll have the money needed to build on that. However, it's not yet clear when they'll start spending and how soon those dollars can translate to wins. Some have speculated that the Dodgers could add to their payroll prior to the deadline if they appear to be in the mix for the playoffs. Others think that the club will hold off on their spending splurge until the offseason. All things considered, when do you think the Dodgers will find themselves back in contention?